Peter Reading was one of Britain’s most prolific, versatile, startlingly contemporary and strikingly original poets. Employing increasingly ingenious metrical skills, Reading maps out an inconsolably sad and at times hilariously funny picture of England – and the world – in decline. Tackling issues such as violence, illness, madness, homelessness and environmental catastrophe, his eschatological vision chastises a world gone morally, ecologically and politically insane. Both bleak and deeply humane, his harrowing art aspires to nothing less than a distilled elegiac epic of our time. The destruction also strikes at Reading’s art itself – the last six books are one long valedictory, culminating in his own death statement, Ob.
Reading Peter Reading is the first comprehensive study in English of Peter Reading’s œuvre, illuminating its thematic and formal concerns, paradoxes and development as well as underlining its major status in contemporary literature. The book is based on Isabel Martin’s pioneering doctoral dissertation on Reading, awarded the State Prize of Kiel University. Its updated, detailed textual analysis will help readers’ understanding of the poetry, and as a whole it provides a thorough and substantial basis for any future critical discussion of Reading’s works.
Reading Peter Reading covers Peter Reading's collections from Water and Waste (1970) to Marfan (2000).